Scotland’s greatest export, Chvrches, have unveiled the new material that they have been hinting at for well over a week now in the form of a new song ‘He Said She Said’.
Opening with a beautiful swell of ambient synthesizer noise before exploding with huge processed drums and battling keyboard melodies, the track weaves in bombastic sonic textures to counter Lauren Mayberry’s cutting phrases that sure sound like manipulative gaslighting to me.
The lyrics contain the snippets that the band has been teasing on social media over the past couple of days, notes such as: “Be sad, but don’t be depressed”, “He said you bore me to death”, “It’s all in your head”, and “He said you need to be fed/But keep an eye on your waistline”. I’m no psychiatrist, but it sure sounds like some dickishly controlling rhetoric spewing from this guy’s garbage mouth. The title would seem to indicate a conversation is happening, but Mayberry’s character can’t get a word in edgewise. All she can say is “I feel like I’m losing my mind”. No wonder, seeing how’s she’s dealing with a colossal prick.
Something that didn’t work as well for me was the autotune used on the pre-chorus. I’m not anti-auto tune by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think it should be used sparingly. I’m guessing the intent was to emphasise the disorienting feeling that comes when you can’t even trust your own words and thoughts, but Lauren Mayberry’s voice is already so biting and affecting that covering it up with effects just feels wrong. Previously, on tunes like ‘Gun’ or ‘Forever’, it’s the tone of her voice and the articulation of her words that really cuts through, especially when you’re dealing with a lyricist of Mayberry’s expert level caliber. Iain Cook and Martin Doherty have plenty of brilliant effect work filtering through the instrumentals, so I don’t see a reason to muddle Mayberry’s voice as well.
However, that’s the only complaint I have. Otherwise, ‘He Said She Said’ is everything you could ever want in a Chvrches song. In my previous write up, I guesstimated that the social media tips were indicative of a possible darker turn for the group. Instead, ‘He Said She Said’ is Chvrches at their brightest, boldest, and baddest. Bad in a good way.
Ultimately, ‘He Said She Said’ is a catchy, gigantic epic that makes me impossibly excited for more new material. Whenever that new material surfaces, I’ll be right there ready to embrace it.
Check out the audio for ‘He Said She Said’ down, below.